Has your focus always stayed the same throughout your life? I’d be surprised if you said yes. My experience has been that it goes through phases depending on our place in life.
When I was a child, the world focused around me. My days were spent playing and spending time with the adults in my life. Family was important. Sunday mornings were spent at church and usually a big family dinner or out to eat. As I began school, friends were introduced to the mix. It was important to have friends, but family was still important.
As I got into high school, things like band, 4-H, and sports all vied for my time. Family was important still, but a little time was carved out of that for involvement in all of the opportunities our small community offered. During this time, I also got involved in the youth group at church. It was small, but I enjoyed the times we got together.
As I went away to college, sports and social activities seemed to rule my time. Well, that and studying. I played three sports at the small faith based college that I went to in the Midwest. I joined a sorority my freshman year, but later decided I didn’t have time for it. Sports took up most of my time in college when I wasn’t studying. That’s where my focus was. I still believed in God and went to church on weekends when I was home, but I didn’t attend regularly at school. I’d go to the church on campus occasionally, but didn’t feel any community attachment to it.
After college, I got a job teaching and coaching in a small town and of course that’s where my focus was. My fiancé was a teacher and coach as well, so we didn’t get to see each other as much as we would have liked, but that was the rest of my time.
With our marriage, there was a new focus. It was family, but in a new way. I remember exactly the time my focus returned to God. My husband had to have knee surgery. It was to be a simple repair to a meniscus and would be outpatient. As it turned out, he ended up spending a week in the hospital. Most of it in ICU. I remember when they realized something had gone terribly wrong. At some point his heart had stopped beating and his lungs had filled up with fluid. As the internist explained this to my mother-in-law and myself, he said that he had a 50/50 chance of surviving. You remember I said “outpatient” knee surgery, right? They expected him to be in the hospital for 3 months. It was tough to see my husband fighting to breath. There was no where for any oxygen to go and no quick way to remove the fluid from his lungs, but he made progress daily and by the end of a week, he was able to come home. The internist couldn’t believe how quickly he recovered. It was a miracle and an article was written about it in a medical journal. Where was my focus in all of this? Certainly concern for my husband, but I reconnected with God in a way that I so terribly needed to. It was after his release from the hospital that we decided it was time to find a church locally to attend. We’d been talking to some friends about attending their church and it seemed as good a time as any to start. So, that first Sunday that he was home, I went and he joined me after that.
Why is it that something really drastic has to happen in our lives to help us see what’s really important and that we need to change our focus. A few years later our first daughter was born and in four more years our second daughter. With our family in place, and coaching behind me, my focus was centered around family and church again. But, I was also working full time. There were little things that took up part of my time in those years, but I’d say the focus remained the same.
We changed churches as our girls got older and our family’s needs changed. God has been faithful through all of the ups and downs that we’ve faced as a family. Somehow we were able to put both of our girls through college and they are both on their own. Family is still important, but now that my husband and I are both retired, church takes up more of our time than ever. Joining our praise team has been a big commitment and one that I have been dedicated to from the very beginning. I have more time now to spend preparing and have become more involved in the band as well as Bible study.
When I began this blog post, I thought I was going to write about how my focus has changed through the years. I guess I’m a bit surprised to realize that it hasn’t changed. It’s just grown into the path God wanted. Our years haven’t been without challenges. We’ve lost our parents and those were devastating times, but God has always been there to help us through. Family has always been there as well. Where is your focus? Has it changed through the years or been on the same things?